Fighting privatisation

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2013 National Delegate Conference
25 February 2013

Conference welcomes and applauds the actions of branches, branch officers, regions, the Police and Justice Service Group Executive, its committees and staff in opposing privatisation across the Police and Probation Services in 2012. Events have shown that campaigning against privatisation does work and that public opinion is on our side and not on the side of the privateers in government.

Conference acknowledges in particular the following work within branches:

1)the excellent campaign run by the Police branches in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire to oppose their forces signing up to the three-force privatisation proposals to join the Lincolnshire Police G4S contract was a resounding success. The branches commissioned expert analysis of the forces’ privatisation proposals from the Association of Public Sector Excellence (APSE) to challenge the business case for privatisation ensuring APSE attendance at the crucial police authority meetings. They lobbied their police authorities and made a real impact in the local and regional press. They launched an ‘e-petition’ as well as taking the petition to the streets of the three counties and secured excellent local press and TV coverage;

2)the magnificent campaign fought and won by the West Midlands Police branch to oppose the disastrous Business Partnering Proposals forced on the police service by the Home Office. The branch engaged with the public through a petition taken out onto the streets of the West Midlands to shame the West Midlands Police Authority over its non-existent public consultation policy. They worked with Labour Link and West Midlands MPs and members of the West Midlands Police Authority to challenge the proposals at every key meeting. They won the public relations battle via the media. They forged an effective alliance with Unite in the West Midlands to carry the fight to the force and police authority. They worked with their region and the Service Group to ensure the campaign was at the forefront of the public and media.

Other initiatives launched to stop the attacks on a public service include:

a)the launch of the Service Group’s ‘Stop Police Privatisation’ campaign, with its distinctive branding, dedicated web-site, campaign materials and briefings, opinion polling and resources for branches and regions;

b)dedicated procurement training for branches and regions, tailored to specific outsourcing proposals;

c)Service Group research into police privatisation;

d)coverage of the union’s campaign on national and regional TV and in all key UNISON publications;

e)the mainstreaming of the ‘Stop Police Privatisation’ campaign in UNISON’s work with Labour Link in the run up to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections;

f)the Service Group’s efforts to extract key information from the Home Office, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice, under Freedom of Information, in relation to privatisation proposals for the Police and Probation Services;

g)UNISON evidence to the Parliamentary Justice Committee highlighting the dangers of the government’s privatisation proposals for the Probation Service particularly in relation to Community Payback;

h)UNISON work with the Local Government Information Unit to promote public partnerships for Probation as an alternative to the government’s privatisation mantra.

Conference believes that outsourcing will never be of benefit to our members, and that direct employment within the public sector with nationally agreed terms and conditions remain the best option for our members.

There is no evidence that the private sector provide value for money.

Conference calls upon the National Executive Council to:

i)continue to oppose privatisation in the Police and Probation Service, by supporting branches facing privatisation locally and by seeking to persuade other police and probation stakeholders of the dangers of privatisation;

ii)provide support, guidance and assistance to branches faced with privatisation threats;

iii)maximise publicity to ensure the public are aware of the consequences of privatisation to their police and probation service;

iv)ensure local branch campaigns are integrated into a national campaign;

v)work with Labour Police and Crime Commissioners to seek to keep privatisation off the agenda;

vi)seek to influence other Police and Crime Commissioners in relation to the stop police privatisation campaign;

vii)develop and expand the ‘Stop Police Privatisation’ and ‘Stop Probation Privatisation’ campaigns so that we can continue to respond to challenges around privatisation in the future;

viii)seek to influence the decision makers in relation to the privatisation in probation.